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Making Smoky Bacon

Everybody loves bacon, even vegetarians miss the smell, the taste and even the thought of bacon but to be honest I was never a fan of smoky bacon, it had a bitter taste. it turns out that's because most of it is dipped in liquid smoke and not smoked at all, who'd have thought!

Last year during Lockdown I is adapted an old crate into a smoke chamber, purchased a Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator Bacon Kit (we hadn't dreamt of The BBQ Shack at this point) and had a go at curing and smoking my own bacon. What a revelation, not only did the bacon not produce endless white whatever that is it tasted great. I smoked everything, pork, cheese, salt, garlic and as a result a friend of mine made me my custom made smoke chamber, thanks Steve. (I'm trying to convince him to make them for The BBQ Shack)

So what is the secret? No Secret, just time. You need to cure your pork, loin if you want back bacon and belly if you want streaky. This is 40g of sea salt and brown sugar mixed per kilo of pork, I mix in herbs to give it a little extra flavour but that is optional. You then need to cover the pork in the cure mix, I put more on the meat side than the fat side, do this over a tray of some description to catch the excess. Place the pork inside a zip-lok bag and push as much air out as possible and seal or invest in a vacuum sealer and vacuum pack the pork as it definitely cures better, less moisture left in the meat doing it this way. You need to cure the meat for two days plus a day for every half inch of thickness (top to bottom) meaning the average 2.5" thick piece of pork needs to cure for seven days in the fridge, simples!

You then need a chilly night or day to do this as you do not want to chamber to warm up above 20 C as this may then encourage bacteria growth in the pork though you will of course cook any meat that you have cold smoked. You also need a box that will hold the pork, your cold smoke generator (hopefully the Pro Q version that you have just bought from us) and something to contain the smoke whilst allowing air flow. Pro Q do a great Smoke Cabinet box that comes with metal grills to place your pork, fish, cheese, salt or whatever you are smoking on and allows air flow to carry beautiful smoke across your food. The Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator will smoke for up to twelve hours dependent on how much dust

The other really nice thing is that you can choose from a range of smoking flavours with smoking dust from Pro Q, my favourite is maple but I am experimenting at the moment with other flavours, purely because we can!

I hope that you give cold smoking a try, I smoke pork, cheese, salt, garlic have yet to make kippers, I can't say I'm keen on kippers BUT it is probably dipped in liquid smoke like smoked bacon so must give it a try (watch this space). Why salt? If you can't cook in your BBQ for any reason (must be bad) but you want that smoky flavour season your food with smoked salt, the smoky flavour of your choice!

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